The Association of Plastic Recyclers
  • PET

    PET

Barrier layers, coatings, and other additives are critical additions to PET bottles to enhance the properties of PET. Unlike closures or labels, these additions cannot be visually determined to be problematic or potentially problematic for recycling. Therefore, testing is particularly important. While several additive materials have been tested and received Critical Guidance Recognition, their penetration in the marketplace is currently limited, and the potential range and scope of new performance enhancing barrier technologies is unknown. APR encourages companies to use commercially available, Preferred technologies as determined by testing, and also promotes innovation in the development and testing of new barrier technologies.

BARRIER MATERIALS AND ADDITIVES FOR PRODUCT PROTECTION

PREFERRED

Barrier materials or additives for product protection that have received APR Critical Guidance Recognition

One company has received APR Critical Guidance Recognition for a branded silicon oxide barrier coating for PET bottles. One company has received APR Critical Guidance Recognition for a branded oxygen scavenger additive for PET bottles. In order for any of these materials to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred based on the test results.

DETRIMENTAL

Nylon

Nylon barrier layers are not removed in the PET recycling process. The presence of nylon causes discoloration in the PET flake, ultimately reducing the value of the RPET produced. Compensating for the presence of nylon by using additional toners adds cost and potentially other contaminants to the recycling process.

Untested barrier materials or additives for product protection

Barriers and additives that have not been tested under APR test protocols are classified as Detrimental due to a lack of data about their impact on the cost, productivity and quality of the PET recycling process. Companies must test as explained below.

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Barrier materials or additives for product protection

In order for any of these materials to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred based on the test results If these items have not been tested, they are considered Detrimental to Recycling. Testing will determine the appropriate category.

A silicon oxide coating that has received Critical Guidance Recognition is commercially available. An oxygen scavenger additive that has received Critical Guidance Recognition is commercially available.

Companies that have developed new, innovative barrier materials are encouraged to pursue APR Critical Guidance Recognition for their materials as well. Companies that are considering such barrier materials and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results.

SCREENING TEST

DEFINITIVE TEST

OTHER ADDITIVES

PREFERRED

Reheat additives that have received APR Critical Guidance Recognition

One company has received APR Critical Guidance Recognition for a branded reheat additive for PET bottles. In order for any of these materials to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred based on the test results.

DETRIMENTAL

Optical brighteners

Optical brighteners are not removed from PET in the recycling process and the residual amount can cause unacceptable fluorescence in the next use of the PET resin. The negative impact on the value and quality of the rPET is not detectable until late in the recycling process.

Any other untested additives

Barriers and additives that have not been tested under APR test protocols are classified as Detrimental due to a lack of data about their impact on the cost, productivity and quality of the PET recycling process. Toners, reheat additives and degradable additives are of particular concern to PET reclaimers. Companies must test as explained below.

RENDERS NON-RECYCLABLE

None listed

REQUIRES TEST RESULTS

Toners

In order for any of these materials to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred based on the test results. Toners that have been tested and found to be thermally stable are Preferred. If these items have not been tested, they are considered Detrimental to Recycling. Testing will determine the appropriate category. Companies that are considering such materials and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results.

SCREENING TEST

DEFINITIVE TEST

Reheat additives

Reheat additives can turn PET flake dark or yellow, thereby reducing the value and marketability of the rPET produced. Testing can verify their impact.

In order for any of these materials to be considered Preferred Design, the specific items must have been tested and found Preferred. If these items have been tested, they are considered Detrimental to Recycling. Testing will determine the appropriate category.

A reheat additive that has received Critical Guidance Recognition is commercially available. Companies that have developed new, innovative additives are encouraged to pursue APR Critical Guidance Recognition for their materials as well. Companies that are considering such materials and are unsure of their compatibility with recycling should ask their suppliers to provide APR test results.

SCREENING TEST

DEFINITIVE TEST

Degradable additives (photo, oxo, or bio)

Recycled PET is intended to be used in new products engineered to meet particular quality and durability standards. Additives designed to degrade the polymer diminish the life of the material in the primary use, and may shorten the useful life of the product made from the RPET as well, possibly compromising quality and durability. These additives must either separate and be removed from the PET in the recycling process or have no adverse effects on the RPET in future uses. When used, their content should be minimized to the greatest extent possible to maximize PET yield, limit potential contamination, and reduce separation costs.

SCREENING TEST

PET Preferred Guidance

Closure

Closure

Made of PE or PP so it separates from PET in a float/sink tank and can be sold as a side stream by reclaimer.
Dimensions

Dimensions

More 2D (round) than 3D (flat), and larger than 5 cm in two dimensions.
Layers & Coatings

Layers & Coatings

APR Critical Guidance recognized barriers or protective coatings.
Resin

Resin

PET with a crystalline melting point between 225C and 255C. Post consumer PET (RPET) content is encouraged.
Label

Label

Crystallizable PET or a polymer that floats in water; label covers less than 100% of bottle surface.
  • Closure

    Closure

    Made of PE or PP so it separates from PET in a float/sink tank and can be sold as a side stream by reclaimer.
  • Dimensions

    Dimensions

    More 2D (round) than 3D (flat), and larger than 5 cm in two dimensions.
  • Layers & Coatings

    Layers & Coatings

    APR Critical Guidance recognized barriers or protective coatings.
  • Resin

    Resin

    PET with a crystalline melting point between 225C and 255C. Post consumer PET (RPET) content is encouraged.
  • Label

    Label

    Crystallizable PET or a polymer that floats in water; label covers less than 100% of bottle surface.

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